Archive for the 'Liberalism' Category

But Not Here

Indonesia is a religiously plural society. The vast majority is Muslim, but large minorities are Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or animist. The Founding Fathers of Indonesia sought to recognize this fact in the national motto Bhinnéka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity). Traditionally, among some groups, monotheism has been mixed with animism or some local traditions, of demigods and so forth. The political system has also been pluralistic, but in a skewed sense. During the Suharto era only five religious denominations were allowed; Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, and Buddhist. Each citizen had to be a member of one of these groups. Thus, some local religions such as the Agama Jawa Sunda (West Java Religion) were banned and congregants had to choose one of the five recognized religions.

Over the past ten years there have been more and more cases of religious intolerance. Some religiously motivated vigilante groups have sought to close down karaoke bars, whose activities they deem inappropriate for the holy season, for instance of the Ramadan. Similar groups have violently obstructed gatherings of religious minorities. Such cases are nowadays frequently reported, not only because they have increased in number, but also because the media are freer to publish such cases. Not all cases make it in to the newspapers, however.
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